I would like to introduce a new contributor to Not Dabbling in Normal. Please welcome Fran from The Road to Serendipity.
My name is Fran. I go under the moniker of narf7 and I live on a 4 acre property on a river that I inherited from my father when he died 3 years ago. Prior to living on the property I lived in Launceston city and was studying horticulture with my husband Steve. I am decidedly not normal. I occasionally try to pretend that I am but the life that we choose to lead isn’t conducive to normality in any sense of the word. We have chosen to live out in the bush and do the most that we can with the incredible chance that we were given to change our lives. We have visions of being part of 4 acres of natural cycles that all integrate together and work as one small ecosystem in harmony with nature and her cycles. In saying that, there are many stumbling blocks in our way, not the least being our lack of ready cash to facilitate the change that we are after. What’s a middle aged penniless student hippy to do? Do it yourself…that’s what!
I blog about how we try to arrive at where we want to be via decidedly not normal channels. We need to use the resources at hand and a whole lot of researching to do what we need to do without having to find ready cash which isn’t usually all that “ready” in our neck of the woods. In the process we have discovered that our local library is a wealth of precious information, the internet is an incredibly valuable resource so long as you learn where to look and that doing things yourself might be a bit harder than paying someone else but you learn new skills, you become a valuable member of your local community and you get the complete satisfaction of doing things yourself and saving a tonne of money. Life is good on Serendipity Farm and as rank urbanites we have certainly learned that living in the country isn’t all roses. We live on the coalface between human society and nature and that’s a pretty precarious place to roost.
We share our property with a lot of chooks. Aussies call hen’s chooks. I was led to believe that chooks are lovely fluffy things that lay eggs and that are beneficial to the garden but have since learned that each individual chook is a mercenary individual cell of a crack team commando raid patrol. They can move into a garden and defoliate it and bare the soil of all mulch in no time. They are also programmed to find the most inaccessible place to lay their eggs, their favourite place being anywhere covered in thorns. When we decided naïvely to release our chooks to free range we never factored in that some of them would go clucky out in the wilderness we call our garden and would raise feral batches of semi wild hens that roam free outside our sphere of influence. Fool us once hens! We have a strained truce with our chooks and their antics are the stuff that blogging epics are made of.
Steve and I try to grow everything that we need for our food forest ourselves. We walk our two dogs every day and aside from pounding a lot of backwoods roads in our local area, as horticulturalists we can see what kinds of plants do best in our local area. We collect fallen walnuts that lie on the road verge and have grown small trees from last year’s haul. We have been given hazelnuts from one of our neighbours and have small hazelnut trees ready to plant out this year. We also have chestnut trees grown from chestnuts sourced from the local green grocer. You would be amazed at just what you can grow from regular produce and dried beans/peas from a health food shop. Frugality requires that you keep your eyes and your mind open to possibilities and we are both always ready to attempt to learn some new skill or project in order to find a cheap way to do something.
I am incredibly honoured to be invited to write posts for Not Dabbling in Normal. I have been reading this blog for a while now and enjoy each and every “Not Normal” post. I hope that I can bring a decidedly Southern Flavour to the blog because Tasmania is just about as far south as you can get before you hit Antarctica and at the moment, it certainly feels like Antarctica is pretty close as our winter has been particularly cold this year. Feel free to drop by and check out what we get up to on our blog if my posts here pique your interest and I am looking forwards to sharing our antics with you all here.